Finding cause of light rail crash could take a year, official says

February 15, 2000|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Investigators said yesterday that it could take as long as a year to determine the cause of a light rail train crash at Baltimore-Washington International Airport that injured 22 passengers and the train's operator Sunday.

The National Transportation Safety Board team plans to conduct tests of the braking system today and begin reviewing the train's data recorder and videotapes. A test of signals yesterday revealed nothing unusual.

About 2: 30 p.m., the Mass Transit Administration train overran the station platform near Linthicum, and struck a concrete-and-steel barrier.

NTSB lead investigator Bob Campbell said last night that no evidence of brake or other mechanical failure has been found. The speed of the train has not been determined, he said.

Most of the 22 passengers suffered minor injuries, including fractures and cuts. North Arundel Hospital treated and released 12 victims with minor injuries. A 13th person with neck and throat injuries went to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, and St. Agnes HealthCare treated five for bumps and bruises. Two passengers remained hospitalized. The train operator was treated and released.

The operator, who gave investigators his account of the accident yesterday, remains "out of service" pending the results of toxicology tests, said an MTA official. Campbell would not disclose details of his statement.

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